During my recent visit to my hometown Delhi, I had the opportunity to try a newly-opened modern Thai restaurant called Ziu. It is owned by Chef Gurmehar Singh Sethi who spent some time travelling in Thailand, learning about the intricacies of Thai cuisine and gaining experience in some top international restaurants before opening Ziu.
Ziu is a contemporary space with clean, new materials, evocative of aspects of Thai culture but with a fresh spin. The theatrical flourishes of the open kitchen, illuminated back-lit walls, warm woods, organic sculptural details and subtle lighting create a warm, cozy and upbeat space.
To kickstart the evening, I ordered a Margarita and a Daiquiri, both of which were excellent.
The menu is small but carefully considered. The restaurant offered us a complimentary Som Tam salad to start with – fragrant green papaya served with freshly pounded peanut. The shredded papaya was air fried, which added to the taste (and health) factor. It made the salad sharp and moist without being soggy. The result – a tangy, tingling, piquant and spicy adventure.
From the starters section, we ordered the Slow-Cooked Chilli Pork Belly – succulent morsels of warm, sticky and sweet pork belly with a touch of smoke.
The chicken satay was refined, a delicious twist on an all-time favourite dish for my parents, who were accompanying me that evening.
But perhaps the finest rendition of Thai cuisine for me were the Prawns wrapped in Crispy Rice Crackers with a spicy Black Sesame dressing. Flamboyantly cooked prawns with delicate flesh inside and a soft crunch outside.
Soon after the starters, we were offered another complimentary amuse bouche – a spicy mix of red onion, coconut and palm sugar, wrapped in betel leaf. It was an unusual but delightful flavour combination and the punchy betel leaf acted as a palate cleanser before the mains arrived.
A combination of burnt garlic-fried rice and the sticky rice (ingeniously served on sticks) were served alongside the main dishes of the evening; these included a fiery volcano chicken, as well as stir-fried prawns with fresh green peppercorns and Thai basil sauce.
Dessert in the shape of a decadent coconut ice cream with jaggery was a brilliant finale. The cool, soothing ice cream was the perfect yin to the yang of the fiery food.
The service was extremely friendly. Throughout the evening, our hosts warmly guided us through the menu, gave us recommendations and looked after our special requests.
Ziu is a brave attempt to present a more imaginative and evolved Thai menu to the Delhi clientele. There are some safe, restrained options and some sophisticated new dishes. It is commendable to know that at the helm of this new establishment is a hardworking, progressive chef, trying to challenge the status quo with new and innovative ingredients and flavour combinations.
More information can be found here.
N.B. All opinions expressed and photographs used in this blog post are my own. I review anonymously and pay for my meals. My apologies for the grainy quality of the photographs in this post as my trusty camera phone was not working properly.